Creating Livelihood Options for Farmers

Creating Livelihood Options for Farmers

Publication info

Posted
4/14/16

Som Bahadur Tamang from Dubachour VDC of Sindhupalchowk district had just started planting tomatoes in his farm during August 2015 when he was interviewed by CARE staff. Eight months after, Som is making good progress and is able to make a decent living selling his tomatoes.  

During our first visit to Som Bahadur Tamang’s farm in August 2015, just four months after the earthquake destroyed his house, his tomatoes were small saplings, but now they have grown into big plants producing juicy tomatoes. Som gently picks them and puts them into his bucket, carefully avoiding to squeeze them too much. This is the first season where his fellow villagers can eat tomatoes freshly grown on their own farm.

Not so long ago the farmers in his village, Dubachour, used to grow rice, potatoes and millets only. For rest of the vegetables like tomatoes and chilies, they were dependent on market outside their villages. “We used to walk hours to get to the market, but we were still not able to get fresh vegetables which were free from pesticides”, informs Som. 

But after receiving farming training from CARE along with seeds, plastic and bamboos to reconstruct his farm, Som has successfully grown healthy tomatoes, which has in turn helped him with income generation.

“After the earthquake, I lost all of my chickens which were my source of income. For a while, I was worried that I would not be able to send my children to school without money,” Som shares. “But after receiving training on farming practices from CARE, I decided to grow tomatoes and planned on selling them. I was skeptical about it at first but within three months I was able to earn Rs. 25,000 (approx $250) just by selling my home-grown tomatoes,” he says.

Along with tomatoes, Som now wants to experiment growing different vegetables. He has already started planting chili seeds provided by CARE and other vegetables like bell pepper. He is quite excited about the yields as some of these vegetables are very new to his fellow villagers.

“Most of the people in our village have never seen vegetables like bell peppers. I am sure they will like it once they grows on my farm,” says a hopeful Som.

Som has been an inspiration to many of his friends who have gone abroad to seek foreign employment. Many of his compatriots want to follow his footstep.

“My friends from abroad call me sometimes and they tell me that they want to come back,stay with their families and make a living from agriculture”, says Som.

He adds, “I have found a passion for agriculture and I want to grow this initiative by leasing land from my neighbors and involve them in farming.”  

However, Som’s journey is not devoid of challenges. Some of his crops were stolen by monkeys when he was not watching his farm. Additionally, many people like Som, who have started farming after CARE conducted agricultural trainings, need further advice from agriculture experts.

“We need an information center where we could interact with experts on a regular basis. Then our yields will be much higher”, says Som. “We can make this village a commercial farming hub as many people have started tunnel farming after the earthquake. However, we need support linking our agriculture produce to the markets as the supply will soon exceed demand in this village”.

 

Som Bahadur Tamang waters his tomatoes in his tunnel farm supported by CARE.

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